Pollution

Hurricane Alex could make land late Wednesday
June 30, 2010 07:33 AM - Reuters

Hurricane Alex strengthened in the Gulf of Mexico early on Wednesday and was expected to make landfall later in the day but skirt Mexican oil rigs and U.S. oil fields, alleviating concerns in crude markets. The first named storm of the Atlantic season became a Category 1 hurricane late Tuesday night as it slowly moved west toward northern Mexico where it was expected to drop as much as a foot of rain. While the storm was forecast to miss major oil drilling sites, rough seas and rain were already hampering efforts to control damage left by an ongoing spill from the major leak at a BP Plc facility south of Louisiana.

California Green Chemistry
June 29, 2010 03:43 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

The California Department of Toxic Substances has released a draft of new green chemistry regulations this week, which creates a new statewide process for evaluating the toxicity of chemicals used in consumer products and requires manufacturers to find safe alternatives to those chemicals used in their products. This is similar to other rules California has put out over the years to mandate toxicity evaluations and induce chemical substitution in California products.

More Fraud Within the Clean Development Mechanism
June 29, 2010 09:05 AM - Richard Levangie, Triple Pundit

A consortium of North American and European activists have demanded sweeping changes to the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) after charging that up to one-third of all CERs ever sold may have been illegitimate. The groups are demanding an investigation to determine whether a number of coolant firms have manipulated the marketplace since 2005 by deliberately increasing their greenhouse gas emissions in order to obtain offsets by reducing them to normal levels.

Tropical storm Alex strengthens, likely to delay oil spill recovery efforts
June 29, 2010 06:50 AM - Adrian Virgen, Reuters

Tropical Storm Alex was set to strengthen into a hurricane on Tuesday, delaying BP Plc's efforts to increase siphoning capacity at the gushing oil well in the Gulf of Mexico where some companies evacuated workers. Alex was forecast to move slowly away from the Yucatan Peninsula over southern Gulf waters and curl northwest away from major oil-extraction facilities to make a second landfall in northern Mexico mid-week.

Oil spill hits Mississippi shore
June 28, 2010 06:26 AM - Tom Bergin and Leigh Coleman, Reuters

Thick oil from BP Plc's Gulf of Mexico spill washed ashore in Mississippi for the first time as tropical storm Alex moved into the Gulf, posing a threat to the cleanup operation. Alex, the first named storm of the 2010 Atlantic hurricane season, had sustained winds of 45 mph and was about 60 miles west-southwest of Campeche, Mexico. The system was moving west-northwest at 7 mph. Forecasters from the U.S. National Hurricane Center say Alex could become a hurricane in the next 48 hours. They predict Alex will make landfall as a hurricane on Wednesday between Brownsville, Texas, and Tuxpan de Rodriguez Cano in Mexico, sparing BP's oil collection efforts at its ruptured deep-sea well.

Oil spill efforts ramp up as storm eyed anxiously
June 27, 2010 07:44 AM - Ernest Scheyder, Reuters

The first named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season is posing an uncertain threat to the Gulf of Mexico, even as efforts to contain the worst oil spill in U.S. history are set to ramp up. For now, Tropical Storm Alex, which is hitting the western Caribbean with rain and high winds, is not expected to pass close to BP Plc.'s blown-out well off the Louisiana coast. But even a miss that only generates large waves could greatly complicate clean-up efforts from Louisiana to Florida. Current official estimates suggest between 35,000 to 60,000 barrels a day are leaking from the rogue well. BP collected over 24,000 barrels on Friday and about 11,640 barrels in the first half of Saturday, the company estimated. New equipment being moved to the site of the leak in the coming week could raise the daily collection rate to 53,000 barrels a day, U.S. Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen, who is coordinating the U.S. oil spill response, said on Saturday.

Canada to phase out older coal-fired power plants
June 26, 2010 09:36 AM - Scott Haggett, Reuters

Canada will phase out older coal-fired power plants to cut the country's greenhouse gas emissions, Environment Minister Jim Prentice said on Wednesday, as it moves to make natural-gas fired plants the new clean-power standard. The new standards, expected to be firmed up by early 2011, will force electricity producers to phase out older, high-emitting coal-fired plants and require newer facilities to match the lower greenhouse-gas emissions of more efficient natural-gas fired plants. Canada has 51 coal-fired units producing 19 percent of the country's electricity and 13 percent of its greenhouse gas emissions. However, 33 of those plants will reach the end of their economic lives by 2025. Unless the operators make substantial investments to cut emissions from the aging facilities, they'll be required to shut down.

First BP relief well has blown-out well in sights
June 25, 2010 06:55 AM - Tom Bergin and Ernest Scheyder, Reuters

Concern over its ability to pay the rapidly escalating cost of the worst spill in U.S. history continued to weigh on its shares, however, sending its London stock to a 14-year low and further hitting its credit profile. BP said in a statement on Friday the first of two relief wells had successfully detected the MC252 well and would continue to a target intercept depth of 18,000 feet, when "kill" operations would begin. As concern grows that bad weather could hamper clean-up operations, BP said 37,000 people, 4,500 vessels and 100 aircraft were helping the response effort, and that almost 850,000 barrels of oil and "oily liquid" had been captured or burned off the sea.

NOAA Opens More Than 8,000 Square Miles of Fishing Closed Area in Gulf of Mexico
June 24, 2010 09:52 AM - National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Newsroom

NOAA has opened more than 8,000 square miles of previously closed fishing area in the Gulf of Mexico, because the agency has not observed oil in the area. The most significant opening is an area due south of Mississippi which was closed Monday, June 21. Additionally, some smaller areas were opened off the Louisiana and central Florida coasts.

High Risk Processes and Their Safety
June 23, 2010 04:04 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

High risk chemical processes are regulated by OSHA, EPA and many state agencies. Information about the releases from these processes are available from a number of sources. Sometimes the guidance on how other interested parties may participate is not always clear. The EPA has released interim guidance that would provide greater transparency in the agency’s chemical safety inspections process. Under the interim guidance, EPA inspectors will offer employees and employee representatives the opportunity to participate in chemical safety inspections. In addition, EPA will request that state and local agencies adopt similar procedures under their related Risk Management Program.

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